As with life, in this job you have to take the bad with the good. The first call we had this morning was routine. Man fell down, woman gets scared and calls 911 thinking he's having a CVA (Stroke). We arrive and find that he just tripped and all is well but still want to go to the ER just in case.
About an hour after that, we get a call for the unknown medical call. Now nine times out of 10 these calls turn out to be nothing. Just a tag that the dispatcher gives a run when they don't know what the complaint is. We arrived on scene and was greeted by the PD officer who reported that our patient was in bed and breathing shallow. As we proceeded towards the bedroom, I asked the daughter when the last time anyone saw her was. She replied that the checked on her a few times last night but didn't see her until about 30 minutes ago. At that point she wasn't responding to anyone.
Hearing that, we increased our pace to the bedroom. We soon found our patient. We found her doing very little actually. No shallow breathing, no heartbeat, no response to pain. Her lifeless body cold to the touch. Giving my partner a look, we asked the family to leave and informed dispatch to send an ALS intercept our way.
Once the family left the room the CPR began. I have always thought that the most effective scene for a heart disease commercial would be to show an actual CPR scene. The indignity, the blood, the sound of cracking sternums not to mention the far off stare that the patient has. Yes, all of this would definitely open a few eyes because it wasn't like it seemed on TV.
With ALS enroute, the patient packaged and the D-fib advising no shock, we carried our patient outside. Passed the waiting family, passed the eyes of the curious onlookers who had begun to congregate. Out onto the stretcher and into the bus.
After ALS set up and was ready to go, we proceeded to the ER. But during the trip, something happened. Something that very rarely happened. After the third Epi was on board, a heartbeat could be felt! No that can't be right?! Her age, the history of heart disease and the fact that she was just in the ER yesterday for chest pain all pointed to her not making it.
Yet here is was, a pulse! Soon the monitor confirmed it, she had a rhythm! The rest of the trip was spent maintaining her airway and respiratory rate. Turning her over to the ER staff with a heartbeat was really a great feeling.
Now in this game, CPR saves are a few and far between. Some days you get them and some you don't. It's yet another cold hard lesson of life. But today we actually did it! We actually saved a life. It wasn't a drunk frequent flier or a BS taxi ride to the hospital. We actually made a difference in someone's life!
Yes, these moments are truly a few and far between. So when they come, enjoy them, learn from them, for they won't last forever.
2 years ago